Roads the focus of Budget

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Funding has been earmarked for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road and the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.
Camera IconFunding has been earmarked for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road and the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.

A stronger and more secure South West will be created by the Federal Government’s 2019-20 Budget, according to Forrest MHR Nola Marino.

Pointing to the multi-billion-dollar investment in the national road network the South West would benefit from, among a raft of funding announcements in the health and aged care sectors, Mrs Marino said the Budget would support communities and improve road safety.

Funding has been earmarked for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road and the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.

“We will provide safer local roads through our $2.2 billion Road Safety Package, targeting black spots and council road improvements,” Mrs Marino said.

“Through the Roads to Recovery Program, the Government supports councils with the ongoing maintenance of the South West’s local road infrastructure, facilitating greater access and improved safety, economic and social outcomes.”

However, South West Greens MLC Diane Evers accused the Federal Government of having “no vision” and believing “regional people will be fooled by road funding gifts”.

“It is as though driving through the regions quickly is all that matters, but I have a higher opinion of South West voters,” Ms Evers said.

While relieved the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme has not been supported in this Budget, Ms Evers said she was not surprised by the lack of funding for Collie’s future at a State and Federal level.

“The lack of budget action to support Collie to transition from coal is obvious, but unsurprising, from this coal-loving Prime Minister,” Ms Evers said.

Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke expressed disappointment at the lack of funding for regional health, education and training, areas she said had faced cuts under the current Coalition Government.

“A lot of youth in the electorate choose TAFE and apprenticeships as employment pathway options, so it is disappointing there was not more funding for these areas,” Ms Clarke said.

While voicing concern about the lack of planning for wage growth, Ms Clarke said she was pleased to see funding allocated towards the Bunbury Outer Ring Road and the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.

“The McGowan Government has regularly put in funding requests for these projects, so I’m glad this work has paid off and that these projects have received funding,” she said.

“It is also good to see that tax cuts for low and middle income earners has also been included, matching Federal Labor’s promise.”

South West Liberal MLC Steve Thomas said much of the direct local investment was announced well before the Budget was released.

“Local MP Nola Marino has delivered over $800 million in infrastructure funding in the last year, including the Wellington Dam proposal, the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, more mobile phone towers, and construction funding for aged care,” Dr Thomas said.

“I have never seen this level of investment in the South West before, which when normal capital expenditure is included represents a billion-dollar boost to the region that will create jobs and support the community.”

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